Tech Column – by Ken Schiess

As we approach Tech Day it seemed appropriate to write about some of the challenges one could encounter with the NC model.

First is the top. As the NC’s age, (the newest now 5 years old and the oldest 15) tops begin to reach end of life, especially if they have been exposed to the weather. Originally they came with either vinyl or canvas tops, depending on the model. Accordingly, replacement tops are available in both vinyl and fabric. Vinyl tops are priced in a range from $300 and fabric tops are a bit more ($660 by Robbins from Moss Motors). Both have DOT approved glass rear windows with electric defrosters.  This does not strike me as a DIY project. I’d suggest speaking to Paul Reinmann (who has had his replaced) and Luis Rivera, Service Manager at Hendrick Stevenson Mazda for installation suggestions.

The second issue is getting water in the car or in the trunk from clogged drains that should take the water that enters between the roof and the car body behind the windows. Once clogged these are a real pain to clean, so the simple solution is to keep them clean. Whenever the car has been left outside (especially where there are pine needles and/or small-leaved trees), vacuum the drains out.  If it’s too late for that, I’d recommend talking to Luis about using Tech Day to access the drains. That will likely require removal of the plastic panel behind the seats unless he has a trick or special tool that you could use.

Beyond that, the Miata MX5 doesn’t seem to have any major issues or even very annoying little issues.  Keep it clean and it will continue to look great, and keeping the oil clean will help it run seemingly forever.

President’s Message – March 2020

Welcome to March! After enjoying an extra day in February due to leap year, March is going to be a busy month. It begins with Election day on March 3, after which there will undoubtedly be eight more months of non-stop political ads. We anticipate the beginning of daylight savings time on March 8, the festivities associated with St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 and the arrival of spring on March 20.

The CFMC has a busy month as well. We’ll have our rescheduled Tech Day on Saturday March 14 at Stevenson-Hendrick Mazda and a club outing, hosted by Tom and Bettie Anne West, on Thursday March 26 to Moore’s Creek battlefield. April will bring our quarterly meeting, for which we still need a member to host and arrange the venue for the meeting. Starting in May, we’ll hit full stride of club events for the remainder of 2020.

Please see the Activities Chart in this month’s Ragtop Tales for information on upcoming activities.

For those remaining months of 2020 without an event, please consider hosting an activity. For ideas or suggestions, contact our Activities chair Tom Pane at toe45@aol.com. As of February, we have 33 paid 2020 memberships (60-65 individuals) for our CFMC. I hope to see each member at one of our great events this year. Remember, the CFMC is your club. If you have ideas for how we can be a better club, suggestions for club involvement, events or activities, don’t hesitate to send those to me at (rcarmike@aol.com)) or any other officer, Activities director Tom Pane (toe45@aol.com) or Secretary Kevin Perham (kperham@deloitte.com). Your thoughts and ideas are always welcome and your input is important in helping to identify interesting and worthwhile events and activities for our club.

In the meantime, let’s look forward to March “going out like a lamb” and the anticipation of many great Miata-type days and our CFMC adventures ahead!

Zoom-Zoom!

Tech Column by Ken Schiess

In March of 2017, I was complaining about a vibration between 45 and 55 mph. I had put the wheels on the balancing machine during tech day and discovered that two of the wheels appeared to be out of round or slightly bent. I proceeded to have them straightened by Stevenson Mazda (thanks Howard) – which, by the way, was cheaper with the club discount than if I’d taken them to the wheel guy myself.

The straightening seemed to work but there was some concern that the Falken-Z912 tires may have worn unevenly. Since I knew I was about to need tires anyway because the Falkens were 19,000 miles old and the wear bars were becoming visible. They had been a great performance tire, very sticky and very responsive. But I don’t tend to drive aggressively so I was looking for an improvement in wear, ride, and especially noise.

Howard (Stevenson Mazda) hooked me up with a full set of General Altimax RT 43 Grand Touring tires for my Grand Touring Miata.  He was able to beat the Tire Rack price, so I was thrilled. That was 33 months and about 10,000 miles ago. I can tell you that the Altimax RT 43 tires are a lot quieter, a little softer ride, slightly less responsive (but my driving style isn’t especially aggressive, so I don’t care). They make driving the car more enjoyable for my copilot without diminishing my fun quotient.  At 10,000 miles they still look very good so I’m guessing that they will last longer than the 19,000 miles the Falkens turned in.

Ken Schiess

President’s Message – February 2020

Well the New Year and decade certainly are off to a quick start!  I hope all your New Year’s resolutions are as well.  The CFMC started 2020 with our annual holiday party and meeting on January 5th at the Circa 1922 restaurant.  Almost 50 club members enjoyed great food, fun and fellowship, all culminating in a very entertaining “Yankee Swap” gift exchange.  Our thanks go to Leon and Beth Rooks, our hosts, for a wonderful and enjoyable evening and to Gina Schiess for the exciting “Yankee Swap”.

The annual meeting discussion centered on our 2020 club activities and our members’ election of the President and Treasurer (Mary Sue Wahl) for term extensions and new terms for our Activities Director (Tom Pane) and Ragtop Tales Editor (Gina Schiess).  We thank Paul Reinmann, outgoing Activities Director, for his service and support of our club during his tenure.  The terms for Vice President (Bill Bertrand and Jo Ann Craig), Secretary (Kevin Perham) and Membership Chair (Trudy Williamson) continue through 2020.

Member support and service to our club are necessary to ensure our continued, successful existence.  The willingness of our officers and committee chairs to serve and

support the CFMC is extremely important and very much appreciated.

The Bitty and Beaus socials will continue, but beginning in 2020, they will be on the second Saturday of the month.  Our next club event will be our annual Tech Day at Stevenson/Hendrick Mazda on February 22, hosted by Paul Reinmann.  While the details and specifics of Tech Day have not been finalized, we expect another great day of member and dealership staff interaction. More details will be provided to those who have indicated they will be attending.

As discussed at our annual meeting, the club’s business meetings for 2020 will be held in April and November. There are two events for May so please check out the Activities column in this issue of the Ragtop Tales for those and other 2020 planned events.  We still have months needing activities and hosts so please consider providing this service to our members.

The New Year has blessed us with several days of beautiful, warm Miata-type weather. Hopefully you have had the opportunity to enjoy these glorious winter top-down days.

Obviously cold weather is still with us, but we have a lot to look forward to—spring is only 48 days away!  I look forward to seeing you soon. Zoom-Zoom!

Ron Carmichael